Democrats Need to Gear Up For a Tough 2014

Ed Kilgore warns liberals not to get complacent about demographic trends that seemingly favor Democrats for years to come:

There has been a lot of talk in both parties about the implications for future elections of the coalition-building strategies of both candidates, mainly revolving around the demographic trends that are likely to make the Obama Vote gradually more dominant in future presidential cycles.

But before we get to the next presidential election….the huge strategic challenge for Democrats is finding a way to win a midterm election where the turnout patterns inherently favor the opposition, thanks to the unusual alignment of the two parties with elements of the electorate that do (older white voters) and don’t (younger and minority voters) tend to participate in midterms, for reasons that have little or nothing to do with the issues on the table. Over-enthusiastic assessments of the value of the Obama GOTV operation—even assuming it can be deployed by the party as a whole in a midterm—may underestimate the difficulty of a very different landscape, aside from the historical evidence about the exceptional difficulty of “sixth-year” elections for the party holding the White House.

As Ed says in another post, “Midterms always, always produce an electorate that is older and whiter than presidential cycles.” And that’s obviously a boost for Republicans, as is the “six-year itch” that generally favors the party not in control of the White House.

In other words, even if Obama’s stunningly successful GOTV operation can be replicated by Democrats in the 2014 midterms, it’s probably not enough. The next two years are going to be tough ones for Democrats.


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